Catching up

Trip Start Jun 04, 2007
Trip End Aug 04, 2007

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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Saturday, July 14, 2007

After Fullerton we headed up the Pacific Coast Highway to Santa Barbara.  Dan Marchiando and his daughter Nina (she's not 8 anymore!) welcomed us into their home which was so beautiful and we appreciated it greatly. They took us to dinner on the water and gave us a tour of the city. The next morning we woke up and drove up to the redwoods natl forest and camped along the water in a little area we found. It was gorgeous and we cooked and ate dinner with a view of the ocean.
Then we headed up the coast further before cutting into Portland, Oregon where we met and stayed with Dutch and Judy Schneider for two nights. We spent some time wandering around the city and then went up the Mt Hood to check out the lodge and look at the sights. We got a tour and information on the history of the lodge, which is amazing in summer, and I'm sure more impressive in the winter when it is full and the 90ft fireplace is going.
Then we headed to SEattle. Aimee flew out the next day- July 4th- and I spent the day wandering around the city and relaxing. I had been unable to sleep the night before (because I knew I was going to miss Aimee!) and ended up working for my bed at the hostel from about 3-6 am so I also did a little bit of resting. I made breakfast for everyone and then slept through it. Anyway, in that time I made friends with one of the guys who worked at the hostel and he invited me to a July 4th party with some of his friends he referees kickball games for on a roof near the water with a DJ and such so I tagged along. The view of the city from up there was amazing and the fireworks we beautiful from up there. The next day I looked at the sculpture gardens (I guess the Gates' sponsored at least parts of it- Microsoft is everywhere and everything there), did some wandering and then picked up Laura from the airport. We got back after most of the free dinner was gone (Aimee and I had a great, huge taco dinner the first night we arrived) but the Seattle Art Museum is free Thursday nights and it is open until midnight so we headed over there. We wandered around down by some of the bars and grabbed a bite to eat downtown and then headed back to go to sleep.
Got up the next morning, went for a beautiful run and then Laura and I packe dour stuff up and put it in day storage to get ready to move to the hostel on Vashon island, a short ferry ride away. We were going to be sleeping in covered wagons for the next 2 nights, though the hostel also has dorm beds as well as teepees and then camping available. Our stuff was heavy (we were ready for the multiple block hike to the bus stop, getting on the bus, hiking to the ferry terminal from the bus and then hiking from the ferryb to the bus and then from the bus to the grocery store and then being picked up by the hostel employees fromt he grocery store- they offer a shuttle service because it's about a 2 mile hike) Anyway, we
finally made it to the hostel, cooked up a spaghetti dinner and lounged around before bed. Unfortunately, I left my sleeping bag in the car (at the airport) and decided instead upon bringing aimee's set of sheets to the hostel. I simultaneously underestimated 1. not being in florida 2. sleeping essentially outside 3. being on the island vs downtown seattle 4. it was cooler than most other nights we spent there. Needless to say I ended up sleeping in: capri yoga pants, pajama pants, jeans, socks, tank top, tshirt, long sleeve shirt, hoodie and then a scarf wrapped both around my head and another around my feet with the sheets tucked tightly under me while curled in a ball. Okay, I'm weak, I know, but still.... Laura was cold in her sleeping back etc etc and I only had a sheet to cover me. The next day we spent about 4 hours on the long trip to get Aimee from the airport (van to bus stop to ferry terminal to bus stop- wait 45 min- bus to bus top to transfer to bus stop to transfer to airport to find Aimee). She called from Denver and we had already begun the trip and she had all her luggage and was waiting for us by the time we got there. But we got a lot of magazine reading done! We finally found our way to the ferry driving and then paid a ridiculous amount to get back on the island with the car (it is at least free to get off the island no matter what) and all slept in the covered wagons again- more prepared and less cold this time. Before, of course, we cooked dinner and sat by the fire and lunger watching movies and such. They had a make your own pancake breakfast every morning which we also indulged in. We decided to spend our 3rd night there camping in the tent, which the one Laura brought proved to be very roomy and perfect, so we're happy, and we (*mostly*) fit int he car with all of our stuff.
On Sunday we took the passenger ferry to Seattle, leaving the car at the Park and Ride on the island and went to the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame and the Experience Music Project and looked at the Space Needle and went to one of the 7-11s that is a Kwik E Mart for the Simpson's movie. It is all painted and some products are relabelled and the employees have nametags that say "apu." Anyway, we made it back tot he hostel around 11 and stayed up past quiet time to quietly read and watch a movie on Aimee's laptop.
On Monday we finally gotup and going, had some pancakes and go to town to meet Jane McConnell at Pike Place Market for some snacks. She is really sweet and very interesting. We finally headed out towards Mt Ranier and camped in the Mt Baker-Snoqualmie Natl Forest, where our camp host informed us of the beautiful sites along the river and we had a fire and cooked dinner and he told us we were safe becaus he and his wife have their magnums in the camper and they're competition shooters- they dress up in western gear for the competitions. He was nice and stopped by a few time to see how everythign was going and we headed out ninthe afternoon to go up to Sunrise and look around and Ranger Bev gave us a 30 min flora and fauna guided tour and we all got hot and tired in the sun and we left to go drive close rto Mt St Helens. Now, this is where we may have made a mistake. Most of the lodges and tours and stuff are at paradise and that side. Knowing that 123- the road from sunrise to paradise- was closed we still went to Sunrise because it sounded - and was beautiful and an amzing place from what we had heard. However, because of the storms in the last year, 123 was closed, so we had to drive almost to Naches to take 12 in the opposite direction to get to Mt St Helens. I think it was worth it, but it got late at night and we camped at a State Park and a driver almost hit our car head on, which Aimee luckily avoided and then he continued to drive straight forward and hit the guard rail at the turn behind us. The paramedics and everyoen came quickly, so hopefully he was ok, but it was close and nerve-racking on the windy mtn roads at ngiht so we found the closest camping we could. We headed onto Mt St Helens the next day and stopped at the interpretive centers and got ot use out Natl Parks Pass again and it was very cool and we could see a small rockslide going on and steam being released, so even though in May it officially became much less active than it had been since 2004 when it began erupting more again, it was definitely interesting. Ranger Pegg gave an awesome speech and I want her job- a volcanologist who works there in the summers as a scientist and giving talks and then at Volcano Natl Park in Hawaii in the winter doing the same.
Anyway, we headed from there and were planning on trying to make it to Seattle when we stopped at a restaurant and I got into one of my famous, I got it from my father- experiences. I met this guy who was from Portland and was in the area for Toejam, a wakeboard/wakeskate competition that happens 3 times annually, in Orlando, Texas and at this manmade lake in Washington. The competition started on Friday but everyone was there already, building the pool, going out on the boats during the day practicing and just camping out and hanging by the fires at night. So, we were told it woudl eb a free, and fun, camp site for the ngiht and we stayed there instead. The guys got some practice in on the pool and we watched that and just enjoyed some wine and went swimming in the lake and jumped off some of the rails and hugn out byt he fire until about 4 am. Around 9 am the guy whose property it is- he runs camps and stuff there all the time- and his kids came out playing around on ATVs and woke everyone up though, so we packe dup and headed ot Seattle to pick up Aimee's driver's license ( she left it in Pittsburgh and we had ot get ti mailed ot the hostel) and then take the ferry to Bremerton, drive to Port Angeles and take the BlackBall ferry to Victoria. We went to a DQ in Port Angeles with the friendliest people ever, and now we're in Victoria. Mostly we've just kind of taken in the sights and enjoyed the showers and tomorrow we're going to take the ferry to Vancouver and spend a few nights there.
Everything is good and we're moving on, meeting people and enjoying ourselves! I'll try to update more often from now on....
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